Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall
A place for commemoration and contemplation
The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall is nestled around a forest on Mount Nam, located in the center of Seoul, Korea. Ahn Jung-geun is one of most famous patriots in Korea, who was also a Korean independence activist nationalist , and pan-Asianist .
The memorial hall is configured as a cluster of 12 masses that shoot up from the sunken base. The number 12 symbolizes the unsung heroes of Dongeui Danjihoe ― a secret society whose name roughly translates into the Society of Patriots ― that was originally organized by Ahn. The members severed their little fingers in 1909, demonstrating their loyalty and determination to the underground liberation movement. During the day, the memorial hall stands tall, like spirit tablets, towering over the old site of the war shrine. At night, it becomes 12 brightly-burning lights as hundreds of thousands of people visit the hall on Mount Nam.
The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall is surrounded by 40-foot tall trees. It is perfectly cube-shaped to be as compact as possible, and half of its volume is below the ground level, preventing it from standing taller than the trees surrounding it. Even though the site is exposed on the hillside of the mountain, the building is energy-efficiently nestled in the ground. The skins of the building are double-layered. In the assembly hall, polycarbonate panels are installed with 600mm spacing from double U-shaped glass to keep the inside temperature stable as well as to bring natural light in. Water in the perimeter of the site falls down to the sunken floor in summer, which cools down the areas around the building. A three-storied void space is placed in the center of the building with a retractable skylight, which allows daylight in and the building to be naturally ventilated, both insideand out.
The translucent texture of the U-shaped glass facade accentuates the greenery of the surrounding trees. Transparent anterior windows were installed between the masses to emphasize the 12-mass structure, and it was designed for visitors to enjoy the magnificent view from a small resting space. The translucent outer layer enables the scenery lighting to come from the building itself and helps maintain the symbolic significance of the commemorative hall.